By Madeline DeLuca
Just over a year ago, I started my position as a Rights Manager at Muserk. My first day on the job was the first official day the company had gone remote. I had the unique experience of learning how to do a new job through video calls, screen sharing, and good old-fashion trial and error. With a year under my belt, I can say with confidence that working from home has been a wonderful learning experience and has allowed me to pick up new skills I may not have had the opportunity to learn before this pandemic, many of which I will keep in my tool belt long after we can safely gather in an office again.
With that in mind, I asked my fellow co-workers at Muserk to share with me their favorite tips and tricks that have been beneficial to them over the past year – the tricks that kept them focused, efficient, and engaged as they worked from home with the hum of their personal lives all around. I hope anyone reading this finds at least one piece of advice or information that makes their work from home experience a better one.
- Keep a physical notepad that is dedicated to work thoughts that don’t require immediate action. Just because you can work after hours late at night or early in the morning doesn’t mean you have to. Write down any tasks you think about after work hours and save them for the next day.
- Take walks during the day, especially when it is warm. It can help reduce stress. A benefit of working from home is you are able to take a nice midday stroll and get some fresh air. It can help you clear your head and focus better and push past the 3pm slump.
- Learn and use keyboard shortcuts. When working from home, it’s nice to be able to unplug from monitors and work elsewhere. Using keyboard shortcuts can allow you to navigate smoothly between tabs and workbooks.
- Try using the Pomodoro Technique. The Pomodoro technique is a time management method that breaks down your working time into intervals with set breaks at the end of each interval. For those who find it hard to focus on the task at hand because of constant interruptions, this technique can help you be more efficient and keep to the task at hand while allowing you to take a break to handle any distractions that have crept in.
- Take advantage of Zoom. Now that we’re a year into using Zoom as a tool, and while we both curse and bless it, isn’t it nice to video conference with people we may have only spoken to on the phone in the past?
- Set weekly and daily goals for productivity based on actual work progress instead of time. Everyone has goals that they want to achieve in a workday/week, and sometimes it feels overwhelming. Setting goals based on concrete tasks rather than time spent working can help you to feel accomplished and productive, even if you were interrupted all day by the sound of the dishwasher, the lawn mower, the washing machine, etc.
- Have a morning routine and stick to it. It is so easy to roll out of bed, grab your laptop and start working, but from experience, this can be detrimental to your work-life balance. Wake up with enough time to make a cup of coffee, go on a walk, listen to a podcast, eat some breakfast, or read a book. Allow yourself some personal time to separate your day. Once you get in the groove, the days will feel much more enjoyable. Also, you can continue this routine when you return to the office, and I believe that transition will feel more seamless.
I have incorporated each of these tips into my work routine in one form or another, and it has drastically improved my work from home experience. I personally cannot wait to be able to gather safely again (and to actually meet my coworkers in person – some for the first time), but in the meantime, I will enjoy working from my comfy couch, not having a daily commute, therefore getting to spend a few extra hours with my husband, and being able to do seemingly endless amounts of laundry during my lunch hour.